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ATTLA

The untold story of Alaska Native dogsled racing champion George Attla and his legacy
Native American Studies • Sociology • American History
American Studies • Sociology of Sport • Environmental Studies
Director Catharine Axley. Producers Melissa Langer & Kristine Stolakis. 
Associate Producer & Cultural Adviser Evon Peter.
2019. 60 minutes. Includes Captions.

 

ATTLA tells the gripping but little-known story of George Attla, an Alaska Native dogsled racer who, with one good leg and fierce determination, rose to international fame and became a legendary sports hero. Part dog whisperer, ingenious businessman, and teenage heartthrob, George defied characterization during a unique period of history when Western education, economies, and culture penetrated the Alaskan village lifestyle and forever changed the state with the discovery of oil in the late 1960’s. ATTLA interweaves George’s story into the final chapter of his life, as he emerges from retirement to train his twenty-year-old grandnephew, Joe, to restore a village tradition by competing in the world’s largest sprint dogsled race.

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Reviews & Quotes

Harvard University

"A visually compelling, beautifully-told story of courage, charisma, and intergenerational apprenticeship, Attla explores the bonds that tie together multiple generations, humans and their animals, and the power of indigenous culture work across Alaska."

Recommended

"Although this is definitely a film about George Attla, the final ten minutes belong to Joe Bifelt. [...]  It’s the perfect note to end on for a film that is clearly just as interested in the impact that Attla will continue to have on his community in the future through the people he influenced as it is in his storied past."

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